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How safe is your nearest swimming spot?

1 November 2007

How safe is your nearest swimming spot?

This summer’s swimming season is here and it’s a good time to check out the water quality of your favourite rivers and beaches.

Weekly monitoring of water quality begins on Monday 5 November at 100 popular beach and river swimming spots across the Wellington region. Monitoring is a joint initiative between Greater Wellington Regional Council and city and district councils.

Results will be published weekly from November to March on Greater Wellington’s website at www.gw.govt.nz/on-the-beaches using a traffic light system. A green light is for go and indicates a low health risk for swimmers. The health risk is determined from the level of bacteria found in water samples.

“This year for the first time, swimmers in the Wainuiomata River can check swimming safety, as we have extended the programme to include a swimming spot at Richard Prouse Park,” says Greater Wellington environmental scientist, Summer Warr.

The level of risk is highest during and after rain events, and people are advised to avoid swimming for 48 hours after heavy rain.

“Even light rain can sometimes be enough to affect water quality. It also pays to keep an eye out for other events like livestock contamination, in addition to checking out our monitoring results”, says Summer.

River users, particularly those with dogs, should also be on the lookout for blue-green algae mats, which can be toxic.

More information on toxic blue-green algae can be found on Greater Wellington’s website www.gw.govt.nz.


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